The Jubilate Deo
—for the Chapel Royal (St Peter ad Vincula), H M Tower of London—is a setting of Psalm 100 (O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands). It was composed in 1967 for the distinguished organist and choirmaster John Williams and his choir at the splendid Tudor Chapel in the Tower of London. The psalm is a song of unrestrained joy, and all that is required of a composer is to rise to the mood of celebration. What is required of a really great composer, of course, is to avoid producing a work that merely shouts its head off in a series of musical clichés. Within the compass of this short work, Howells masterfully varies tonality and texture, building tension through the use of pedal points. The organ makes its own contribution in music that is joyful and extrovert. The pace broadens out slightly for the dramatic entry of the trebles on a high G flat at the opening of the Gloria, and the tension is maintained to the joyful conclusion.
from notes by Paul Andrews © 2011